Everyone loves hearing their name—especially children. I planned this Family Storytime for that reason. But also because I really wanted to devise a way to not only learn the children’s names but also to get an opportunity to practice writing their names down so I could learn them better.
Opening: “Good Morning Song”
Rhyme: “Hickity Pickity” (with whiteboard)
Rather than calling up every participant, I had children volunteer to share their names. I first asked them what letter their name started with, then I pulled out a magnetic letter to match and wrote the name in full on the whiteboard easel. It was way more complicated than it should have been for this mixed-age group.
Song: “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt” (on CD)
I’ll admit it: I’ve never really liked this song. I only chose it to fit with the theme—something I immediately regretted once the CD started playing and the children were watching me march around and not participating…
Book: Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio, illus. Christian Robinson
Song: “B-I-N-G-O” (with felt board)
Rhyme: “The Alphabet Beat”
I prefaced this rhyme by telling the children I was going to teach them how to rap. Like with “Jingleheimer Schmidt,” this was another instance where I was performing for the children rather than getting their participation.
Book: Thunder Boy, Jr. by Sherman Alexie, illus. Yuyi Morales
Goodbye: “The More We Read Together”
How It Went: What a squirrelly group! I couldn’t quite hold their attention—even the visual schedule didn’t really help, since kids wanted to skip from reading to playing. The most successful part was the “Hickity Pickity” rhyme, as it elicited the most participation. I missed a lot of opportunities for engagement and learned a valuable lesson about treating storytime like a performance. It is so much better to have children actively participating.
If I were to do this storytime again, I would change the songs and rhymes almost completely and swap out one of the books for something a little simpler. Both books were a bit too long for this audience. Also, I will never use another BabyGenius CD again!